After a 6 month long battle I finally got my very first front end developer internship, mainly will be working in react. I am not very experienced when it comes to front end development, besides having a bunch of side projects that I made in react and I'm only in my sophomore year in college.

This is why I am kind of nervous about this new job. What if I am not good enough? Will I be the "stupid developer" in the group? What if I fail my tasks? These are doubts/questions I ask myself everyday.

Is this normal? How can I handle this stress and impostor syndrome? Any tips?

  • what do you mean by "bunch of side projects"? how many? how many lines of code? what was the job description and expectations of you? – aaaaa says reinstate Monica May 21 '19 at 0:19

The only way you can fail is by giving up.

Nobody in the company you're joining will expect you to be the greatest developer to have ever walked through the door. Especially as it's an internship, they won't (and aren't allowed to) let you work on any critical work.

Be prepared to learn a lot, and you'll learn it fast. If in doubt, ask. Be a nice person, learn how to make a decent cup of tea and coffee, and you'll be perfectly fine. They gave you the position over and above any other candidates, so they probably see something in you that you don't even see yourself yet. You're good enough for this job, so go and make the most of it.

  • 3
    I like the concise, upbeat nature of this answer. OP, @PeteCon is spot on; you've done the hard part of selling yourself. What comes next will be your reward - step up to it; ask lots of questions and don't be afraid to fail. If you don't make any mistakes, you're not trying hard enough. – Justin May 21 '19 at 7:42

What if I am not good enough?

Well, since they took you for an internship, you clearly meet some of their requirements (have basic knowledge, understanding / know-how on the technology / domain etc) to get started. You're not starting out of blank, you know it yourself or not, you have some capabilities to start with.

Remember, they took you as an intern, where the basic target is to groom you so that you can learn and gather knowledge more on the domain / technology, and start working towards making actual contribution. This is sort of on-job training, where they target to train you.

Will I be the "stupid developer" in the group?

Do you want to be? No.

Remember, during the internship, you'll also be in learning phase (as you did in college), only some different and some new things than you did in college / university. Have faith in yourself and keep learning - if you find the learning interesting, I bet you never have to think of this doubt / question again. :)

What if I fail my tasks?

Gear up, and try again. As I repeated twice before, you're an intern, you're expected to fail and learn. At times, the mentor(s) may set you up to fail (yes, intentionally), so as to teach you how to handle the failure and react to the situation. Remember, not everything (even in life outside the workplace) ends up in success, you should know how to handle a failure, as a professional and as a person.

Last advice: Never be afraid of failure, be afraid of the thought of not to try again.

Best of luck!

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    Upvoted for the bold sentence at the end. The most important lesson a new employee can learn is to learn from their "failures" and grow from their mistakes. Don't fixate on them, don't be afraid of them, but do be thoughtful about them! – dwizum May 21 '19 at 13:25

Yes, it's totally normal to be a little overwhelmed and filled with self-doubt.

But, it's completely up to you how to handle it. I recently transitioned back into software/electrical engineering after a 10 year hiatus while I taught middle school math. I loved education and I loved being an inspiration to young people for 10 years, but I couldn't afford to feed my family with a job in education. So I came back to engineering.

My advice to you is to take it one day at a time. Listen intently and learn from the people around you. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and take the time to look stuff up for yourself. Be intrinsically motivated and work hard. Let that hard work speak on your behalf as to what you're capable of. I taught myself Python in 7 months-ish and have been a great asset for my company. Am I a fluent Pythonic programmer? No. But I work hard and create quality products that my employer values. I work hard at work, show up on time, have a positive attitude, and I'm always ready to learn something new.

I believe in you. Keep your eyes on the prize. Keep working hard in school and your job. You'll be alright and come out on top! Best of luck!


To add to the other good answers, make sure you talk with your supervisor / mentor about their expectations regularly. Solicit feedback frequently and soak it up, good or bad; it's all well meant. Understand that all of us fail tasks sometimes and the people around you will empathise; I would love to see my interns talking about failures and learning from them (and it's an excuse for me to share plenty of stories of my own!). You may well not escape stress and impostor syndrome - I'm not sure any of us ever do 100% - but they are made far, far worse by being in a position where you're second-guessing what your employers think of you.

  • Exactly. You are an intern. You're there to learn. So don't hesitate, even for a moment, to ask them to help you learn. – O. Jones May 22 '19 at 10:45

Will I be the "stupid developer" in the group?

There is no such thing as a stupid developer. There's only developers that care and those that don't.

This may not be top rated, but I'm putting it here because I know it works. If you want to do well as a junior / new developer I suggest these things:

  • Study your tech stack in your spare time. Do it as soon as you know what the stack it. Grab a course from Udemy or Youtube or whatever, learn it.
  • Never say "no" unless you are overwhelmed and when you are overwhelmed, tell someone responsible. Don't whine or complain just say "I have a lot on my plate on the moment, I cannot promise a quick delivery."
  • Help them help you. When you have a lot of tasks, make a list in any order. Then coordinate with a manager on priorities and then work down that list. This works. They know what to expect and you know what to expect.
  • We all want to do well. It's important that we learn and grow as developers, but sometimes the time to learn and the time to deliver come in conflict. If you don't know what to Google, that's your queue that you simply don't know. Ask a lead / senior. It's more important to deliver on time than it is to learn what EXACTLY is going on.
  • Sometimes you're going to have to "black box" things. You're not going to understand everything in front of you, that's ok. Just do what needs to be done and be conscientious about what you're doing.
  • There are no stupid questions. Seriously. If you don't know what something is, that's fine. Google and if google gets you half way, ask a lead for the rest. Often you'll know what it is but not how it's used. Side note, just because Stack Overflow uses something in some way, doesn't mean your senior or lead wants you to use it that way. If you're going to use code you've found and you're unsure of the implementation, throw it by a lead. They'll set you right.
  • Remember you're a team. Everyone has an interest in your success. The managers will look good, the owners will make money and you want to get paid. All interests are aligned in the sense that everyone wants to see you succeed.
  • In the beginning you're going to need to learn a lot on your own for no pay. You need to accept that reality if you want to be good.
  • NEVER commit to a quote you're unsure of. "I'll get back to you." is what you say and then get back to them with a quote in a reasonable amount of time.
  • When a task is really tough. Brathe deep. You can do it. When you hit a difficult task this is what I suggest. Jump into it. Grind away at it. After a couple hours, stop. Take a break and just change your mind. Let your brain work on it passively. Hit reddit, do something. Go on lunch, go for a walk. Listen to music. Whatever. Then come back and continue. Sometimes that break allows your brain to parse what's going on passively and you'll discover the solution.
  • Write out what you're thinking and do psuedocode a lot. It helps or if there are other juniors, Rubber Duck with them or yourself. Just follow the logic out loud.
  • Above all, relax. As long as you're trying and you care, you will be fine. You just need to be patient and understand that development is a process, humans are imperfect and a code base is an organic thing. It shifts and grows and moves in ways no one completely understands but none-the-less need to interact with.

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